Archive for the ‘Only in New Jersey’ Category

Father Knows Best

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Rachel Canning, Lincoln Park teenager whose suit against her parents went viral this past year, has filed a temporary restraining order on her boyfriend Lucas Kitzmiller.

Canning has accused Kitzmiller of choking her with his hands during a dispute late Saturday evening that took place on the streets of Mine Hill. Immediately after, she fled to her car and drove to the Denville Police station to file a domestic violence complaint. According to the Daily Record, Kitzmiller has since filed a cross-complaint and has received a temporary restraining order against Canning as well.restraining order documents. illustration design

Canning and Kitzmiller’s relationship was one of the reasons for the disagreement between Canning and her parents this October, prior to moving out. They encouraged her to end the relationship, claiming that Kitzmiller was a bad influence that encouraged her lifestyle of missing curfew, drinking and showing her parents no respect, according to the Daily News. In addition to arguing over her relationship with Kitzmiller, Canning claimed that her parents failed to support her “both financially and emotionally,” and sued her parents for child support and both private school and college tuition. As the case gained international attention, Canning dropped the suit and has since moved back in with her parents, who agreed to not criticize her relationship with Kitzmiller as they dated on and off for the year.

In light of recent events, maybe parents do know best. Their initial instincts of Kitzmiller are seemingly correct, that is if Canning’s claim of violence is true. Regardless of whether or not the court finds enough evidence to support a permanent restraining order, it seems that it would be best if Canning takes the advice of her parents and keeps her distance from Kitzmiller.

However, the best advice to take from this entire situation was that given by Judge James DeMarzo who suggested that both parties keep quiet about the case, especially on social media. As seen with last year’s court case, news like this can easily go viral and if Canning hopes to go off to Western New England University in the fall clear of a reputation, she should keep things quiet and try to move on from her past.

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A Healthy Debate?

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

nurse makes the shot in the armAfter being denied unemployment benefits, a nurse recently fired for refusing a flu vaccine filed a lawsuit against her former employer, Hackettstown Regional Medical Center. The court ruled that the hospital did in fact violate this woman’s First Amendment right to freedom of expression. While other employees at her place of work were allowed to skip the shot for religious reasons, this nurse’s more secular motivations for refusing the vaccination led to her dismissal. Although there may be some basis to this woman’s claims of discriminatory practices, isn’t it mainly to the detriment of hospital patients that she won this case? In our politically correct world, when do the rights of the ill and infirmed trump the rights of a healthcare worker to skip a basic healthcare precaution? We count on our healthcare professionals through blind faith alone that they are carrying out their tasks in the safest manner. Our well-being depends on their fastidious attention to detail and commitment to both health and hygiene.

Imagine you were a patient in the hospital and your nurse entered the room wearing a pin that read, “I refuse to be inoculated.” Could you run out of there fast enough? When we keep our closest friends and loved ones away with a ten foot pole when they’ve been infected, would any sane person allow an unvaccinated hospital employee anywhere near them when these employees spend countless hours in close quarters with other sick patients? Not a chance. It is essential that those working in these kinds of environments are doing everything that they can to keep patients safe from harmful germs. That most certainly includes ensuring the health of those caring for these patients. This is especially important when so many hospital patients have conditions that can already cause weakened immune systems, making these people even more susceptible to illness.

Do we want to live in a world where our healthcare professionals are not held to the highest standard?  Perhaps the laws for healthcare professionals should be even more restrictive, when it is our very lives with which we are entrusting them.

Now that this nurse has won her case, where will hospitals draw the line? Any employee of the hospital could refuse a vaccination on any grounds. Of course, the hospital would have to be transparent about the inoculation practices of its employees. When choosing between one hospital or another, patients would flock to the other for fear of picking up a virus. After all, how could the sanitation of the hospital be trusted if it could not even maintain control over the health practices of its employees? This would seriously bring the reputation of the facility into question.

To make matters worse, this case could cause a domino effect and allow many other environments where healthy employees are vital to operations to similarly disregard basic healthcare precautions. Patrons of food service providers and daycares, for example, would steer clear of these businesses during flu season, and these businesses would suffer as a result. Turning this into a debate about freedom of expression ignores the heart of the issue. We need to be able to trust our healthcare providers. Otherwise, our whole system will topple.

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Woman Banned from Posting About Family on Facebook

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

A New Jersey woman has made news recently for her questionable Facebook and blog posts about her husband and children. In late 2011, the woman was diagnosed with bipolar disorder by a state psychiatrist after she had lost custody of her children, kidnapping them and attempting to cross them over the Canadian border.Log in screen of

This woman, identified as H.L.M. for the safety of her children and family, posted on Facebook and on her blog about her family referencing Jeffrey Dahmer, the Book of Revelations, Satan and Hitler. These posts were said to be “rambling, irrational, disturbing and bizarre.” Therefore, a New Jersey judge ordered that “you can talk about what you want to talk about, but don’t reference (your husband) or the children.” However, the woman began using the word “Camelot” as code for her family, going against the court order and violating her probation. It is noted that she had used this code word over 160 times between the court order and her hearing.

The woman appealed this order, claiming that it restricted her first amendment rights. But is this actually a violation of her freedom of speech? Or is this court order in the best interest of protecting her children?

The appeal, issued on May 13, found that the order was not a violation of her first amendment right to free speech because it did not limit her from discussing anything other than her family. The restriction was merely in the attempts to protect her children and husband. Yet, this ruling draws a fine line in maintaining constitutionality. While I do believe that everyone is entitled to free speech, I also believe that there are exceptions to every rule, especially when it comes to protecting children from a harmful environment. However, with any ruling that teeters on the line of constitutionality, we have to be careful in that the case can be used as a precedent for further exceptions to the rule.

More information on this story can be found in this article, published by the Star-Ledger.

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Christie’s Reputation “Colonoscopy”: Time to go flush it out

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Governor Chris Christie has broken the rules, and this time it is not just the rules of good government. Chris Christie, facing the largest dilemma of his career, has yet to follow the most basic rules of reputation management:

Rule One: Don’t laugh when others are suffering

Days of gridlock, life endangered by EMT vehicles stuck in lanes of traffic and the Governor chose to joke and suggest he was on the George Washington Bridge, wearing a uniform and moving traffic cones.

Who is laughing now?

Rule Two: Don’t say it if you don’t mean it

Didn’t we all just see millions of dollars spent on television commercials with our governor pledging bipartisan approaches as the best way for this state to succeed? So while filming those commercials, and seeing the polls showing a lopsided victory, his team decides to lash out at a small town mayor and a gubernatorial candidate without traction?

Rule Three: The “Colonoscopy Approach”

I often remind clients that this test is done to quickly get all the “bad stuff” out in one session and to be able to look and see what else lurks that might be a problem. This is how information is best measured and a response best crafted.

The “leaking and dripping” of this administration, information coming in day after day, names that were redacted but ultimately will be made public, officials balking at testifying, and more.

Get it out – all out – and then start to repair.

Rule Four: The phrase “I am sorry” goes far

Somehow, someway, Chris Christie needs to learn how to say it out loud…and often.

Where is the NJ Sex Appeal?

Friday, July 12th, 2013

Election season is in full swing both in NJ and NY, with dedicated and loquacious candidates running for local, statewide and federal offices. But there is more dividing the two states than the Hudson River. The question needs to be raised – Where is the steamy stuff in NJ??

New York has a Governor with a live-in paramour sharing the Governor’s Mansion. New York has mayoral candidates in committed gay relationships, committed bisexual relationships and one with a need to share his anatomy over social media. New York even has a comptroller candidate with a fondness for wearing his socks when hiring hookers!

And then let’s look at New Jersey:

We have a senior senator with no spouse/dates or any other manner of companion. We have a Newark Mayor running for Senate who, despite his charm, has yet to show us he can snare a date. We have a newly-elected Wall Street Executive turned Jersey City Mayor who hangs with his parents in his free time. Did Hurricane Sandy take the sex out of the Jersey Shore? Even Snooki doesn’t hook up anymore…What is going on??

The last good sexy story we could boast about was about a Governor with a boyfriend on the payroll – and that was over 10 years ago. Could a state known for leading the way in political corruption, pay-to-play, and loud mouth officials be unable to find that smarmy work/life balance? Do we need a political to get these guys some action?